My typical operating position is from a place of fear or worry.
what I can’t do,
what I’m afraid of,
what might happen.
I worry about what I am not.
I am not patient.
I am not brave.
I am not good enough.
Theologian Baxter Kruger calls this the lie: “I am not.”
That struggle of faith that
we are not valuable,
we are not important,
we are not good,
we are not capable,
that we are not loved.
I think Lois Shea, in her essay Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn from Mommy Wars by Leslie Morgan Steiner, hit the nail on the head.
The whisper of the “Inner You Stink.”
Internal, emotional spit wads we throw at ourselves over imagined failures.
My kids were both in the principal’s office this week. And my mind screams – you stink! You stink!
I didn’t serve those vegetables for dinner on Thursday.You stink! You stink!
I lose my temper. I want what she’s got. I worry when I should trust. I am not faithful enough. You stink! You stink!
But God, who is also known simply as “I AM” wants to restore me, to restore me to the truth. Kruger points out that not only does God know about all of my “I am nots,” He loves me in spite of them.
Psalm 139 is one big love letter from God…to me.
1 You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?…
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
I want to stop focusing on what I am not.
I want to stop thinking that I can’t.
I want to stop limiting God.
Who am I to limit His unlimitless power?
To limit His unlimitless love?
To limit His unlimitless grace
and dictate what I can and cannot do?
With every self-limiting statement that I make – or even the fears and worry that consume me and keep me awake at night – I am limiting the unlimitless power and love and grace of God.
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. – Phillippians 4:13
In the face of all my “I am nots”…I am still wholly loved by the great I AM.
In other words, when my heart cries out “I can’t”
The I AM replies…”Yes, you can”